Remove the ability to double click on Start Programs to open Windows Explorer

Posted on 2006-11-07
Last Modified: 2013-12-04
I am running a number of XP PC's in a factory environment.  The PC's are completely locked down so that the users can only access the Shopfloor programs that they need to.  The users have no access to Windows Explorer.  I need to be able to disable the ability to double click on Start Programs to open Explorer, or change the program that it tries to open.
Question by:sgarrioch
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LVL 21

Expert Comment

ID: 17889534
May they use the start button at all? If not, look here

Author Comment

ID: 17889576
They need to use the Start button as the programs that they have access to are located in Start, Programs.
LVL 21

Expert Comment

ID: 17889632
Are the pc's in a domain?
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Author Comment

ID: 17889818
Yes the pc's are in a domain but I have no control over it.  The domain is run and controlled centrally by Head Office.  I have applied Group Policy to the individual pc's which has locked them down completely, apart from the ability to right click the Start Programs option.

Author Comment

ID: 17891443
Sorry - I mean double click the Start Program option - not right click as I said in the last post!
LVL 27

Expert Comment

ID: 17891683
If I understand your question correctly this may help.
It deals with disabling Explorer and context menus.

LVL 66

Expert Comment

ID: 17894038
Why not just remove it from its location in teh Start Menu under All users?
I believe it is here C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs.

But you still also have to worry about the right click on Start to Explore.
LVL 66

Expert Comment

ID: 17894064
Here is an excerpt from to disable the ability of certain groups access to Right Click Start>Explore

In regedt32 I went to:


and set the student user account permissions for those keys to "deny" and
viola!  The can still right click and see "explore" but when they click on
explore they get an error alert and are denied access.  Much rather not
have the right click menus show up at all, but hey, this still does the job.
LVL 66

Expert Comment

ID: 17894074
Also, an easier way to do it (untested though)

This will disable the Context Menu for the Task bar including the Start Menu button.

Value Name: NoTrayContextMenu
Data type: REG_DWORD
Value Data: (0 = Un-restricted, 1 = Restricted)

Should be able to use it for HKCU as well if needed.

Author Comment

ID: 17897904
Thanks for these.  The issue is not with Right Clicking the Start menu, I have already removed the option for them to do that.  The problem is that when they click on Start (using the Classic Start menu option), they can then double click on the Programs option and it opens Explorer.
LVL 66

Expert Comment

ID: 17898249
What if you try to hide the drive in My computer, would they still be able to access it that way?

Ok...I see what you mean. I switched from XP start menu to Classic, and went Start>Programs, and double clicked. Cant do it with the XP start menu though.....Just flashes all programs twice....

Expert Comment

ID: 17983355
I don't understand why you need to access programs from the start button at all.  desktop shortcuts or quick launch tool bar will allow access with fewer clicks.  Add a reboot icon and you could then disable the start button entirely for limited users.
LVL 12

Accepted Solution

zoofan earned 500 total points
ID: 18106728
Hello sgarrioch,

Understand that this will impact more then just your ability to dbl click the programs folder on the start menu and it may do so in a negative way.  USE CAUTION!!! That said,
one option is to remove the file type ass. to the "folder" property

Please be sure you test this completly before implementing across all your workstations,
Run regedit and navigate to:
Key Name  Type                   Data
Default      REG_EXPAND_SZ  %SystemRoot%\Explorer.exe /e,/idlist,%I,%L

If you blank out the value "%SystemRoot%\Explorer.exe /e,/idlist,%I,%L" and leave it empty this wil remove the default action to take when a user attempts to open a folder.  They will recieve an error stating "The file does not have a program associated with it for performing....................................."

I realize this is an ugly solution but what you are attemping to do is change the way windows handles a dbl-click event to a folder as for what ever reason MS used an actual folder for the "programs" in the start menu list.  This does not occur in standard mode as the pictures are not true folders they are command buttons with images IE: same as the help button or settings button in classic mode.  

Another solution maybe to remove the" programs" folder all together and move the shortcuts to the users apps to the root of the "start menu" folder.  Your shortcuts will appear the same level as where the "programs" folder was.  IE where office puts it's "New Office Document" shortcut at the top of the start menu list.

Truthfully Im wondering what your attempting to stop them from doing by disabling this, as if any app they use gives them a file open or save dialog box they will have the same access and ability!  My suggestion might be to lock down the pc's files using permissions(ntfs), hiding drives as johnb suggested and create a policy for "only run allowed apps".  This folder browse is only one of hundreds of holes just like it that you will need to close up, case in point every other folder that is contained in the "programs" folder,any app with a file open, file save dialog, windows help, my documents... web browsers...(url address to any local folder given a path)  on and on etc...etc...etc



Author Comment

ID: 18113480
Thanks for this

We had found another way around the problem, by substituting an X: drive for the C: drive at startup, it stops the double click working on Start | Programs, but allows us to access the hard drive using a password protected Explorer, using X:

I hadn't thought about moving the programs to the root of the Start menu - that would be a neater solution - Thanks.

All our programs that are run on these pc's are developed in-house so can be monitored and amended - the pc's have no access to any standard Windows software so there are no options to File Open etc.  We have not really had any of these issues while using Windows95 or NT, it is just as we've upgraded to XP that most of these issues have arisen.

Thanks again for everyones suggestions and help.

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